NUI Galway and GMIT have been awarded just under half a million euro to enhance mental health and wellbeing supports for students this year.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris this week announced that €5 million will be provided for the recruitment of student counsellor and assistant psychologists at colleges this year.
The funding will also be used for the implementation of the Framework for Consent in colleges, and the soon to be published National Student Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Framework.
NUI Galway will receive €313,000 in funding for these improvements, while GMIT has been allocated €164,000.
“The number one health issue for young people in Ireland today is concerns or worries around their mental health,” Simon Harris said.
“These concerns have been compounded by the isolation and uncertainly brought forward by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“For students, the college experience has been different this year from ever before. Students have had to adjust to remote learning and carried out without face to face support from their college or their peers.
“For these reasons, I have sought to support student counselling services, key mental health interventions and the provision of a safe, respectful, supportive and positive environment in our higher education institutions.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Alan Wall, Chief Executive of the Higher Education Authority, said “This additional support, being provided by the Minister, is a welcome boost to a higher education sector that enrols in the region of 55,000 new students each year.”
“These young and not-so-young students engage in higher education at a sometimes-challenging time of change and progression in their lives.”
“This is a sizeable proportion of our population, and while our health and community services work to support everyone, there can be environmentally specific or transitional issues that arise for both current and new students in higher education.”